Pope Francis has visited his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, to exchange Christmas greetings.
Photos released by the Vatican newspaper show the two men, dressed in identical white robes save for Francis’ cape, chatting in a sitting room inside Benedict’s retirement home during the visit Monday. They also prayed together in the adjoining chapel. Benedict was looking well, using a cane for support while they stood in prayer.
It is the first time the interior of Benedict’s home has been shown publicly: The sitting room and furniture were all white. An Advent wreath decorated the coffee table.
Since Benedict’s retirement in February, the two men have met only once publicly, for an official Vatican ceremony in July. They also have met privately and occasionally have spoken by telephone.
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VATICAN CITY (AP) — For months, construction crews have been renovating a four-story building attached to a monastery on the northern edge of the Vatican gardens where nuns would live for a few years at a time in cloister. Only a handful of Vatican officials knew it would one day be Pope Benedict XVI‘s retirement home.
On Tuesday, construction materials littered the front of the house and plastic tubing snaked down from the top floor to a cargo container as the restoration deadline became more critical following Benedict’s decision to quit on Feb. 28 and live his remaining days in prayer.
From a new name to this new home to the unprecedented reality of having two living popes, Benedict is facing uncharted territory as he becomes the first pontiff in six centuries to retire.
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